by Sue Ann Rybak
Capt. John Fleming, a 16-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, has replaced Capt. Joel Dales as head of the 14th Police District. Dales, who was promoted to Inspector, will oversee the Standards and Accountability Unit.
“I am extremely happy to be back in the Northwest again for my third stint,” Fleming said.
Out of his 16 years on the police force, Fleming has spent 10 years in the Northwest Division. Prior to his promotion, he was an administrative lieutenant to Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
He has worked in the Northwest as a patrol officer in the 35th District and as a lieutenant in the 39th District.
The 14th District covers Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and parts of Germantown and West Oak Lane.
Fleming, whose father was a police officer, didn’t always dream of becoming a cop. He said he was a sophomore finance major at Temple University when his father suggested that he take the Philadelphia Police Officer Recruit Examination.
“Most people don’t aspire to a career in civil service, but I don’t see myself ever doing anything else,” Fleming said.
When asked about Dales, Fleming said he has “put a great blueprint down for me to follow.”
“I believe he (Dales) has the right people in the right place – it’s just a matter of tweaking it so we can continue to ensure that we’re deployed in the right way,” Fleming said adding that the 14th District is “very diverse” and is one of the largest in Philadelphia.
“It’s a big responsibility that I open my arms to,” Fleming said.
Fleming said he acknowledged the need to address the increase in burglaries in the area. Part of his goal as captain is to build a specialized burglary task force.
Fleming said he was fortunate to be able to enlist the help of “two of the best fingerprint technicians in the Northwest Division” – Sgt. Dennis Rosenbaum, who was in charge of the burglary task force in the Far Northeast and captain’s aide Andrew Drobonick, a fingerprint technician from the 39th District.
“The 14th Police District now has three excellent finger-print technicians,” Fleming said. “It’s a big advantage for a district that has issues with burglaries and property crimes.”
He said he hoped that both Rosenbaum and Drobonick will be able to share their knowledge and expertise with other officers in the 14th District.